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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  October 4, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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that's it for us. why the president lost the debate last night, moderator, lack of urgency and even the thin air was cited. we'll ask his campaign manager the real reason. mitt romney said he wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class, does that add up? and the fbi finally arrives in benghazi, more than three weeks after the attack that left four americans dead. we'll hear from a reporter tonight who just visited the site and found a trove of sensitive documents, including one about security requests. let's go out front.
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good evening, everyone. i'm erin burnet. out front again, paul ryan and mitt romney taking the stage for the first time since last night's debate. that, for most accounts, was a big win for their campaign. was it enough to change the dynamic of the race 33 days before the election? let's go to jim acosta at the rally in fishersville, virginia. trace adkins, i guess, is going to perform there. they're getting ready for a big, big blowout. >> reporter: that's right, erin. they are blowing this day up. you could say this is a #winningday for the romney campaign. trace adkins is on stage. and we saw the evidence of this all day long from the gop nominee, when he got on board his campaign plane earlier this morning. he was already cruising at a higher altitude, erin, chatting up his campaign staff. there was a smile on his face. and, honestly, erin, i've been
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covering this campaign for a year and a half. this was one of the happiest days that i've seen on the part of this campaign and its staff for some time. but you could tell that things were starting to change during the day, as the president was starting to mount that new offensive, going after mitt romney on his statements last night, calling into question whether or not the gop contender was telling the truth during last night's debate and putting out that new ad that said if we can't trust him on the debate stage, how can we trust him in the oval office. erin, it's interesting to note just as we were landing here in virginia, two romney senior advisers came to the back of the plane to start talking to reporters about this new narrative that was emerging from the obama campaign, trying to go after mitt romney and some of the statements. when i asked ed gillespie, a senior romney adviser about that tough new ad from the president, he said it's the president's ads that can't be trusted. erin? >> on facts both of them had some issues last night and both had some hits. i'm curious, jim, with the focus
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group, dial's at the end, mitt romney surged on those personal attributes where he has struggled, trust, sensitivity. he did very, very well, surged on that. the president didn't plunge but mitt romney surged. will this be enough to really invigorate the whole campaign? >> reporter: i think so, erin. you know, he was taking a lot of knocks. not just from the press, but inside the republican party that he was spending too much time doing debate prep behind closed doors and not enough time campaigning in swing states like ohio and here in virginia. the romney campaign, i can tell you, felt vindicated by that strategy. i was talking to romney's sparring partner, ohio senator rob portman, he gave me no indication they will be letting up in terms of debate prep. he told me his job will not be done until those debates are finished later on this month. erin? >> of course, we'll be going back to that event when paul ryan and mitt romney join me on
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the stage. deputy campaign manager for president obama's campaign, stephanie cutter. good to see you, stephanie. the crowd behind jim acosta is fired up. the focus group i was with last night is very clear. i mentioned this to jim. in case you didn't hear me, those personal attributes, likability, strength, mitt romney really surged. it's just two men in this case on that stage. what could the president have done to avoid the outcome that ended up happening? >> well, you know, in terms of mitt romney surging, just remember how much of a deficit he had to make up. i mean, he was in some cases double digits behind the president and all those attributes and the president is still leading on them. we expected an aggressive debater to show up last night on the debate stage with barack obama. we didn't expect an aggressively dishonest debater to show up. that's what we got in mitt romney. what could the president have done differently? of course, we'll recalibrate and
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recalculate based on the mitt romney that showed up last night. we've got two more debates left. now we know what we're dealing with. we know that mitt romney will, in a split second, walk away from the central policy of his entire economic plan because he knows it's bad politics. he has been campaigning on this $5 trillion tax cut since the beginning of the primaries. and last night he tried to walk away from it, because he knows he's going to have to tell the middle class that he's going to have to raise their taxes if he wants to pay for it. >> the $5 trillion cut, the president talked about that today. that was sort of the heart when you talk about him being honest, it comes down to the tax cuts. >> with well, there's plenty of other examples. >> let me play this one and get your reaction. >> when i got on to the stage, i met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be mitt romney.
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but it couldn't have been mitt romney because the real mitt romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. the fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that. >> stephanie, let me ask you about that. here at cnn, we fact checked that, that $5 trillion in tax cuts and have come and said that's not true. mitt romney has not promised that. because he's also going to be closing loopholes and deductions. his tax cut wouldn't be anywhere near that size. >> so you're disputing the size of the tax cut? or are you disputing also how he's going to pay for it? >> we're disputing the size. >> erin, he has campaigned on lowering tax cuts by 20% for everybody, including those in the top 1%. that was one of the main selling
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points in the republican primary. >> so you're saying if you lower them by 20% you get a $5 trillion tab, right? >> it's a $5 trillion tab. >> but when he closes deductions he won't be anywhere near $5 trillion. that's our analysis. >> well with, okay, stipulated, it won't be near $5 trillion, but it's also not going to be the sum of $5 trillion in the loopholes that he's going to close. it is going to cost someone and it's going to cost the middle class. independent economists have taken a look at this. there aren't enough deductions for those at the top to account for the number of tax cuts that they get because of mitt romney's policies. you have to raise taxes on the middle class, as bill clinton says, it's simple math. >> they'll say, though, that you can do that. there are other studies. i know the one to which you're referring. >> prove it. erin, prove it. >> you can't prove either side is all i'm saying. one thing that's not true is the $5 trillion tax cut. >> i disagree with you. you can prove it. they're counting entirely on economic fwroet to pay for a tax cut, which is an interesting theory. that's what george bush did. look how that turned out.
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>>hey're saying closing loopholes and economic growth, both. i understand you disagree with t i'm making the point of what you're saying. >> that still leaves you at least $1 trillion short. the math does not work with what they're saying. and they won't name those deductions. not a single deduction that they will close because they know it's bad for their politics. at the end of the day, this is the center. this is the core of mitt romney's economic policy. last night, he walked away from it, said he didn't have a $5 trillion tax cut. he does. that's what lowering the rates amounts to. >> okay. i know you and i disagree whether it's a $5 trillion tax cut. >> he won't say how he's going to pay for it. >> i think both of us have made r point on this i want to ask you something else on this front because this whole issue of adjusting on dishonesty, your campaign is going to adjust because of what you've called romney's dishonesty. you also talked about recalibrating and recalculating. so, what does that mean you're going to do? >> well, i think that, you know -- look, the president came
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into the debate last night really wanting to have a conversation with the american people about his plans, his policies. and to correct mitt romney when he was distorting the president's record or distorting his own. turns out that's all that mitt romney did. you know, on issue after issue. pre-existing conditions. says he's going to cover people with pre-existing conditions. that's absolutely not true. it's not true. even his staff had to correct that after. you know, he says he's not going to cut education. that's absolutely not true. he has endorsed a budget that would kick 200,000 kids off head start, would cut pell grants for more than 9 million kids. what he is saying last night, he made some good political points, scored good political points by saying these things. unfortunately they're just not true and it will catch up with him. that's how these things go. you know, the american people haven't been tuned out over the past year and a half. they've been following this race. they've been following what mitt romney has said. >> right.
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>> they're tuning in to the fact that he wasn't telling the truth last night. >> the conversation we had just a moment ago says on some of these things there are different ways of looking at t the point is, who is going to make the best point to the american people? some things can be proven definitively right or wrong. andrew sullivan, an influential supporter of the president and blogger called his performance absolutely disgracefully bad. let me play a sound bite of what he said and let you respond to that. >> i have never seen a president of the united states blather, blather on like that, bore us, tell us none of his major arguments, fight back against any of the obvious distortions of the other candidate and just sit there. i mean, really. and you know how much i love this guy. >> stephanie, did you feel a little bit of that frustration? >> you know, i appreciate his opinion. i disagree with it. i think the president had a good performance last night.
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obviously, mitt romney had a good performance, but that's just what it was. it was a performance. he wasn't leveling with the american people or being honest with them about his own policies and what he was going to do with this country. the president took a different approach, he was being honest and was laying out where he would take this country, giving him what a second term obama presidency would mean for them personally and the middle class. he took a different approach. now that we know what we're dealing with in the mitt romney that showed up last night -- i presume he will show up at the next debate, too. we'll hold him accountable for the things he's saying about the president and his own. he has a history here. he has been running for president now for six years. >> stephanie -- >> he has taken a lot of positions. he has to be responsible for those position. >> i'm going to give you the award for the person most loyal to their perpendicular. you are so loyal. i can't resist this sound bite. >> great. thank you.
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>> i had a headache last night. this is a preface to the sound bite. i had a headache and didn't feel well when i landed in denver. here is al gore talking about the president's performance. >> obama arrived in denver at 2:00 pm today, just a few hours before the debate started. romney did his debate prep in denver. when you go to 5,000 feet and you only have a few hours to adjust -- >> that's interesting. >> -- i don't know maybe this is it. >> all right. maybe the altitude. >> what's that? >> i was saying maybe the altitude. al gore was being lighthearted when he was saying maybe that was the challenge, the altitude. >> maybe the altitude is what affected mitt romney's memory. maybe that was the impact on the debate.
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>> you win the gold. >> it is lighthearted. >> you win the gold. >> it is light hearted. >> stephanie, always great to see you. i appreciate your time. "out front" next we break down mitt romney's key line of the night. it came when he talked about his tax plan. does it add up or not? u.s. special forces are on the ground, collecting intelligence in libya. we have a report from benghazi, coming up. and live report from facebook revealed by mark zuckerberg. ♪ [ male announcer ] how do you turn an entrepreneur's dream... ♪ into a scooter that talks to the cloud? ♪ or make 70,000 trades a second... ♪ reach one customer at a time?
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second story of the night, taxes. we were with cnn's undecided voters in colorado last night. about 17 minutes in, they had these little things where they were dialing up and down where they liked and not liked things. and they gave them a boost of approval to mitt romney when he said this. >> number three, i will not, under any circumstances raise taxes on middle income families. i will lower taxes on middle income families. six other studies look at the study that you describe and say it's completely wrong. >> the study that mitt romney is referring to and that the president referred to is from the tax policy center t looked to see whether romney can cut individual tax rates for
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everyone without increasing the deficit. he has promised his plan will be revenue neutral. in order for his math to add up, the campaign has said they're going to close tax loopholes, particularly those affecting the wealthy. according to the centers analysis back in august, they said by doing that, lower income families with children would pay an average $2,000 more. but mitt romney is right to point out that others have poked holes in the math, including bloomberg, that middle class would be hit with an increase of only $1,000 not $2,000. the tax policy center was told about this. according to bloomberg, the authors changed some of their statements. the conservative tax foundation claims that the center didn't account for economic growth and romney's plan would pay for itself, that there would be no middle class income tax increase. last month came on the show and did the math and said if you close or cap itemized deductions
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and assume that the economy grows at 3%. historically, that would be reasonable. right now it's been a challenge. they would raise $200 billion, which means you wouldn't have to raise taxes on the middle class. it could add up. if he could sell it, could it be the issue that wins him the election? the senior political analyst and fiscal responsibility and reform. great to see both of you. appreciate it. doug, let me start with you. this stood out to me last night that independent voters liked that when he talked about cutting tacks for the middle class. obviously the obama administration takes issue with it and says it isn't true. do you think this could be enough, if mitt romney could make the case for him to win the election? >> i think it's a very important point. remember why he wants to have the tax reform he wants.
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it's to make sure that the united states grows better than we've seen in the past four years. and what mr. romney is trying to say is, look, we have all these people out of work. we have all these people with jobs whose incomes are not growing. let's lower rates, broaden the base, be respectful of the middle class and the deficit by but have a better tax policy in place. it's good positions for him. the president can't even get the first step right. instead of lowering rates and broadening the base, he is insisting on raising taxes. that's a bit of a tough sell right now. it was the same president who, in 2010, said we can't afford to raise taxes on anyone. the economy is too weak. we're growing faster then than we are now. >> how big an issue could it be for democrats if mitt romney successfully makes the case? >> you know, this is how i see it. imagine you're going into -- you want to buy a car, right? >> yeah. >> you go to the car dealership and the dealer says i've got this great car for you. it goes zero to 60 in two seconds and it's climate
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control, turbo charged and guess what, it's electric and it flies and it's only $10,000. and you say, great, it's awesome. this sounds like a great car. i would love to drive t he says there's a catch, though. i can't show it to you. it's in the garage but i can't actually show it to you, but are you going to buy it? you've got to trust me. all those things, it's all true. that's what you're seeing now. mitt romney sold something last night that can't be true. all of the independent analysis says -- and i take issue with some of your research there. as voters start to dig more into this pitch they're going to realize it's actually too good to be true. >> doug, there's a point to that. mitt romney has said he doesn't want to, for example, raise the rates on capital gains or dividends but analysis, i believe including your own,
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although i'm not sure it's your own, did say that those rates would have to go up on the wealthy, too, to make this close to working. >> that wasn't my analysis. the point raised by you and others is that there are now plans that conservatives have put together which meet the specifications of mr. romney and don't raise taxes on the middle class. there are plans that the democrats have put together that do raise tax on the middle class. that says this can be done and the issue is what will be done. on that i would say i don't think the president is in a strong position of pointing fingers. he has been saying he wants to lower the corporate tax rate to 20% but there's been zero details of how he can do that. mr. romney is making the same point. he is serious about tax reform, going to go work witcongress when he gets a chance. to put out those details now would be to harm the overall effort.
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>> that may be true but ethan is fair to point out that the studies we reference are put out by conservative groups. >> that's absolutely true. they're using different specifications from what mitt romney has said. one study says if he raises taxes on people $100,000 than -- $1,000 than $2,000, it makes the math work. the problem is that romney has said i don't want to do any of that. so all of the studies that doug says actually affirms romney, they're all making assumptions that contradict what romney is saying. the reason they have to make she is assumptions is that romney is not showing anyone his tax plan. >> if he can win this with the middle class -- i'm speaking from one small focus group. they cared a lot about it. if this could be something that helps him move this election in swing states and he has to get more specific on loopholes and what he can close, should he do it next time in the next debate? >> that will be a decision the campaign makes. i don't have any idea. i think the american people will go one level above that and ask
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what are we trying to accomplish here? we're trying to accomplish growth, a set of policies that leads to growth. they're very discontented with the record of the president. the president tries very hard not to talk about it for exactly that reason and point the finger as much as he can at mr. romney. the trouble will be if he demands those details of mr. romney, he will then have to go back and explain how he fills in a gap in a budget that by its own admission leads to a death spiral. a spending program that can't possibly be paid for. they're going to ask him what about the studies that show that your spending is inevitably going to lead to higher taxes on the middle class? that will be a dangerous place for him to go. >> thank you. we appreciate it. taxes, we all care about them. 1 billion, how many active users facebook now has. company ceo mark zuckerberg has confirmed the number in a posting on facebook today.
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it's good news for the company. they're still trying to recover, of course, from that disastrous ipo. it's a big number for an 8-year-old company, it confirms that facebook's growth is actually slowing. 9 million fewer people registered with facebook last quarter and 57 million fewer than the first of the year. zuck is not worried. fewer users are signing up, they are the right ones, he says, which brings me to tonight's number, 600 million, the number of facebook's mobile users. remember when he was asked about the future of facebook, he said it's mobile, it's mobile, it's mobile. we looped it for you to hear all 37. he says he knows how to make it happen now. in 2006 when the company passed just 25 million users in all, in addition to the u.s. most came from australia, canada, germany and britain. now facebook users are coming in from where the people are. the future, brazil, india, indonesia, and those countries and china are the competitors. by 2040, those countries will represent two-fifths of the world's gdp. huge market and one of the
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reasons why facebook's mobile ads for the first time are outperforming ads for pcs. last night, who was raising more money? what's contributing to the deadly spread of meningitis spreading in this country? now, that's what i call a test drive.
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welcome back to the second half of "out front." we're going to start with the stories we care about, focus on our reporting from the fropt lines. centers for disease control says a rare type of noncontagious meningitis has killed five people and sickened 35 others in this country. state and federal officials say they expect to see more cases. they are actually linked to spinal injections mostly given for back pain. this isn't what you think, he
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viral or bacterial. it's not contagious. king abdullah has absolved the parliament ahead of a planned protest tomorrow. . is he calling for new elections around the start of the new year. this isn't the first time abdullah has prepared for a potential arab-spring inspired demonstration, fired four advisers over the past two years. it's a tough situation, given that king abdullah is seen as one of the main reformers in the middle east. source in says that two men are being questioned in the death of a u.s. border patrol agent. nicholas ivie was killed on tuesday. he and another agent were responding to a sensor that went off. the other agent was injured but
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released from the hospital yesterday. pat summit says she felt like she was forced out of her job after revealing she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia. her testimony is part of a discrimination suit being brought by a media director against the university. in the affidavit which we read, summit says it was a very surprising and very hurtful thing to be told by the university's athletic director that she would not be returning as head coach. she goes on to say in a subsequent meeting, the director says she misinterpreted what he was saying. what are we doing to get our top credit rating back? among the factors fed members were concerned about, the crisis in europe, fiscal cliff. of course, that's that combination of spending cuts happening and the expiration of tax breaks happening at the end of the year. now our third story out front, fresh off a strong debate performance, mitt romney's press
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secretary tweeted that the campaign was getting more than two donations a second. john avalon has been looking into this. super pac guys are standing by, by the way. john, i'm looking at the democratic one in the eye and is already champing at the bit. so, talk to me about the money game. obviously a big boost for romney last night. >> absolutely. as you know to find out what's going on in campaigns you've got to follow the money. looking in particular at super pac spending, tsunami of sleaze going through our airwaves in real time. it's fascinating. releasing its numbers for the last three weeks of september. here is what they're seeing. president obama's campaign outspending mitt romney's campaign almost 2-1 in the last three weeks of september. take a look at the next level. super pac level, republican super pacs outspending 2-1. in some senate races it shows more than 50% of the ads on air in swing states are coming from these super pacs. fascinating measure just how much they're having an effect
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and, in some cases, propping up campaigns. >> the two biggest super pacs out there, dedicated to president obama and romney, they're obviously the chief of each of those is about to come on the show. how are they doing specifically? >> in terms of money raised to debt, current year-to-date totals we have, the general ratio shows restore our future, romney associated super pac outspending the super pac associated with president obama. for the month of august, first time liberal super pacs outraised conservative super pacs. the restore our future super pac aired no ads from a period of august 21st to september 19th. they were dark. that's an extraordinary thing and raises a lot of questions. are they saving up their cash, considering they raised so much for an october push or is it an
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indication that the money hadn't been coming in as much as they expected? fascinating dynamic we'll see play out. this is real time, paying attention to the money in politics. that's the inside of what's going on beneath the spin. >> we'll get more information right now. the man behind that super pac supporting mitt romney, restore our future. and the man who is in charge of the super pac supporting president obama. i wish you were side by side. i wish you were in gym clothes. always hoping get a fistfight going. >> this tweet i was referring to, andrea sol, mitt romney received more than two donations every second. can you tell me about what you saw and tell me about size, if you could? >> well, in terms of the super pac, our voters were energized, thrilled to see governor romney talk about his plans for the future but also about how president obama has had his chance and hasn't been successful and doing a point-by-point response to the
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president's argument. everybody was energized and they felt great about the debate. and i think that today will probably be the best fund-raising day we've had, if not one of the top two fund-raising days we've had with the super pac. people are energized and very excited. >> charlie, what doethat mean? can you give me more specifics? we were looking at your money, $96.7 million raised through august 3 st. your second best day ever, how much would that be, ballpark? >> i'm not going to go into exact numbers and give a competitive advantage over to bill. i do think an important point we heard earlier is your previous guest talked about restore our future going dark for a few weeks. >> yes. >> our strategy was in the month of august to respond to the
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obama team's attacks. in the month of august, president obama's campaign itself spent almost $200 million running attack ads against mitt romney. and we saw our role at restore our future to spend as much money as possible in the month of august when the romney campaign was -- had shortage of primary election money. and wasn't able to spend a lot of the money they had. so we spent money responding to the obama attacks in the months of august. >> and then decided not to spend in september is what you're saying? >> and now we're moving into our general election strategy and i think we'll be very active. >> bill, let me bring you in here. bill maher, you know about the bill maher tweet? he was not impressed. he likes to say what he thinks. sometimes maybe he should keep what he thinks to himself.
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but this one -- he sends a lot of tweets. i can't believe i'm saying this but obama looks like he does, in capital letters, need a teleprompter. i'm mentioning him because he's giving your super pac $1 million. an important guy to you. are you worried that what happened last night could affect fund-raising? >> absolutely not. democrats were proud of how president obama performed. and they think the president has an advantage, a little bit ahead, but he has to close the deal. for a little bit of context on those numbers you rolled out there, restore our future did raise money over the course of the last two years. most of that was in the primary. month of august, we outraised restore our future by a considerable sum. there's probably a reason they're advertising right now and only in one state, which is wisconsin. i'm not sure what that reason s their donors are probably wondering what's the strategy to spend in wisconsin and also to have spent something like $9.6 million in michigan and pennsylvania that they've all but abandoned. >> i'll get charlie's response to that, but tell me how your fund-raising was today.
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>> pretty good. >> today was a pretty good day for us. >> not top one or two? >> it was a top five. i don't know about one or two. >> that sounds like it would be about fair. can you answer the question that bill put out there, charlie, about why the money is still -- he's saying right now your only in one state, wisconsin? >> well, we have been on the air both in wisconsin and michigan. and if bill doesn't think wisconsin is competitive, i would ask why president obama and the vice president have been visiting wisconsin and why the obama campaign is on the air in wisconsin. it is absolutely competitive. and i would say the same thing about michigan where you see vice president biden visited a few weeks ago. so, our ads have been effective. and i think you'll see more of them going forward. big picture, i don't have any doubt that bill burton and his
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allies will have plenty of resources. in 2008 john mccain got outspent by $250 million. in 2004, george w. bush got outspent by $100 million. so the unions and the super pacs on the left and george soros funded super pacs, you're going to have plenty of money. i'm not worried about that. what i'm very excited about is having the resources to respond to your attacks. >> this is actually an important point. dan eagan has an important piece that folks should take a look at. between charlie and all the other groups out there, they've had a lot of money. whether that money has been strategically spent is the question. we've focused a laser on the middle class. there's a week in august where restore had an ad up about jobs, crossroads had an ad up about the debt. >> those are three republican-oriented super pacs. >> romney was advertising on welfare reform. if you're a voter in toledo, you're saying what is the story they're trying to tell about president obama?
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i get that they don't like him but what is the strategy here? on the republican side, a reason that the money has slowed down a little bit is that people are disappointed with the overall big picture, strategic. >> i'm sure you don't mean to imply that there's more coordination -- >> i'm trying to imply there's a lot more common sense we've been advertising on our side than they have been doing on their side. >> when i just made that comment to bill, obviously, in a lighthearted way because super pacs, by law, are not allowed to coordinate with the campaigns. today, the fbi visited a site in benghazi where a u.s. ambassador was murdered. the day after a newspaper reporter found sensitive documents laying around the site, one talking about a need for increased security days before the attack. that's "out front" next. once mitt romney and paul ryan take the stage we'll go there live. at unitedhealthcare insurance company,
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our fifth story "out front," special forces are in libya tonight and neighbor countries, trying to gather intelligence on the attack that killed ambassador chris stevens and three others.
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this after the fbi xwan searching the u.s. consulate three weeks after the september 11th attack. the fbi had chosen not to go to benghazi until now, due to security concerns, raising questions about the integrity of the investigation. right before the show, i spoke to michael birnbaum by phone. >> reporter: they looked around here a little more than an how areu and then had gone to a market in town to look for potentially stolen goods. >> you've been in the consulate. what did you find? >> reporter: i found a gutted and looted series of buildings. it's burned out. it's empty now. it's not being overrun by
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bystanders. they let me look around. there are documents scattered all around. there are documents in the bedroom where ambassador stevens was staying. there are lots of documents and files in what appears to have been the security office for the mission. and among those files are records, sensitive records of administrative files, personnel files of libyans working with the americans, records of security protocols for what to do in case of emergency and even a very detailed itinerary of ambassador stevens' five-day trip along with cell phone numbers and names for a lot of the libyans he was trying to meet. >> i'm curious about one other thing, michael, that i know that
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you found. a document that indicated that americans at that mission in benghazi were discussing the possibility of an attack in early september. >> reporter: that's right. well, they were discussing the possibility of an attack as part of general security planning and precautions, but in a memo dated september 9th, two days before the attacks, they were working on a new security arrangement or a newly defined security arrangement with the militia that provided armed guards for the mission compound. and in that document, they say that the militia memories on duty should, in the event of an attack on the mission, request additional support from their nearby brigade compound. that suggests that they were acknowledging that the guards that they had on hand weren't necessarily enough to take care of the compound in the event of
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an attack. >> michael, thank you very much. we appreciate your taking the time to join us. michael birnbaum joining us from benghazi. next, a big question for the u.s. and the world as to whether those two countries could be on the verge of war. special report, next. putting us to work here in america and supporting wind and solar. though all energy development comes with some risk, we're committed to safely and responsibly producing natural gas. it's not a dream. america's natural gas... putting us in control of our energy future, now. silverado! the most dependable, longest lasting, full-size pickups on the road. so, what do you think? [ engine revs ] i'll take it. [ male announcer ] it's chevy truck month. now during chevy truck month,
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we're back with tonight's outer circle, where we reach tout our sources around the world. tonight we go to istanbul where the turkish parliament has given permission to attack syria outside its borders. this comes after turkey fired at targets in retaliation for a mortar attack that killed five civilians. ivan watson is in istanbul. i asked him about the number of casualties in what seems to be an escalating clash. >> reporter: conflicting reports about the number of casualties caused by two days of turkish artillery strikes across the border into syria in retaliation for five turkish civilians killed by syrian artillery strikes in a flashpoint border town in turkey on wednesday. syrian rebels telling us at least 13 syrian troops were killed by the turkish artillery. the syrian ambassador to the u.n. saying two syrian military officers were wounded. meanwhile, the turkish parliament has voted in favor of
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a new resolution that would authorize the turkish government to carry cross-border operations, military operations, into syria. meanwhile, some sectors of turkish society have been organizing anti-war protests in the square behind me. definitely concerned about the possible outbreak of war between these two neighbors. erin? >> thanks very much to ivan. now to yemen where five al qaeda militants were killed in a u.s. drone attack. at least that's what two local security officials tell cnn today. the militants were heavily armed, carrying explosives. nic robertson knows the area very well. i asked if those killed were high value targets. >> reporter: three u.s. drone strikes have killed five suspected al qaeda militants in an area known as an al qaeda stronghold. al qaeda made gains in yemen last year. they have been rolled back to
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some degree by government backed by tribal militias in recent months but they still present a big problem in yemen. indeed, they are viewed as the most operationally active branch of al qaeda, if you will, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. we don't know who the arguments were this time, but very likely high on the target list would ibrahim al siri. he has made bombs and is a very feared al qaeda member. he made the underpants bomb, other bombs. so at this stage, five killed, five suspected al qaeda members killed. exactly who they are, we don't know yet. legalization of marijuana is on the ballot of many states this year. and some of you have some truly high expectations, mile-high ones. we'll be back.
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so one of our fun parts of the show is when we're able to give you a chance to be heard during a segment which we're called "outfront online." monday, we traveled to denver to talk to voters about legalizing marijuana. colorado's a swing state and it's an issue there. a number of responses were posted on our blog. the number actually was rather high. one of our viewers, ron, wrote got freedom? i don't smoke but i support it. this is the land o